Artificial Nature is a research project by Haru Ji and Graham Wakefield, creating a family of interactive art installations surrounding humans with biologically-inspired complex systems experienced in immersive mixed reality. These installations invite participants to become part of an ecosystem rich in living feedback networks, but not as the central subject. Although artificial natures are computational, they draw their inspiration from the open-ended continuation and aesthetic integration of playful wonder combined with the tension of the unfamiliar recalled from childhood explorations in nature. By giving life to mixed reality the artists are anticipating futures inevitably saturated in interconnected computational media. However, they believe computation is not intrinsically utilitarian, nor in opposition to nature; they see it instead as a material means to plunge even more deeply into what nature is, and to find our place within it.
Haru Ji is a media artist and co-creator of the research project “Artificial Nature”, exploring the subject of life in art through artificial life worldmaking. She holds a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Technology from UCSB and is an assistant professor in DPXA & the Digital Futures programs at OCAD University. Her work has been shown in art festivals, conferences, and venues including SIGGRAPH, ISEA, EvoWorkshops, La Gaite Lyrique, ZKM, CAFA, MOXI, the AlloSphere, and Seoul City Hall, and recognized in the 2015 VIDA Art & Artificial Life competition and the 2017 Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality showcase.
Graham Wakefield’s research has evolved from computer music composition to the generation of open-ended environments for exploratory experience, emphasizing continuation over closure. This work is expressed through software design for creative coding and immersive artworks of artificial ecosystems. He is an Assistant Professor in the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design at York University, where he runs the Alice Lab for Computational Worldmaking. Graham played a central role in the development of software systems and authoring content for the AlloSphere and he is a software developer for Cycling ’74. His works and publications have been performed, exhibited and presented at international events including SIGGRAPH, ICMC, NIME, EvoWorkshops and ISEA.